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Where is the Parkland Shooter Now?

A+Coconut+Creek+Police+officer+identifies+a+suspect+that+is+wearing+the+same+clothes+as+the+shooter.+A+witness+who+saw+PS+arrive+at+the+school+before+the+shooting+confirmed+that+it+was+him+on+the+scene%2C+and+PS+is+arrested.+Photo+from+Wikimedia+Commons.+
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Where is the Parkland Shooter Now?

A Coconut Creek Police officer identifies a suspect that is wearing the same clothes as the shooter. A witness who saw PS arrive at the school before the shooting confirmed that it was him on the scene, and PS is arrested. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A Coconut Creek Police officer identifies a suspect that is wearing the same clothes as the shooter. A witness who saw PS arrive at the school before the shooting confirmed that it was him on the scene, and PS is arrested. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A Coconut Creek Police officer identifies a suspect that is wearing the same clothes as the shooter. A witness who saw PS arrive at the school before the shooting confirmed that it was him on the scene, and PS is arrested. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A Coconut Creek Police officer identifies a suspect that is wearing the same clothes as the shooter. A witness who saw PS arrive at the school before the shooting confirmed that it was him on the scene, and PS is arrested. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Sophia Artandi, Staff Writer

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On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 students and faculty members were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by another student, who was 19 at the time. The male student who was responsible, now 20 years old, will hereby be referred to as the Parkland Shooter (PS) because this article aims to give him as little recognition as possibly.

PS has been in jail since the shooting, but he is not on trial yet, and he may not be for another two years or even longer. He was indicted by a grand jury in March 2018, charged with 17 counts of first degree premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted first degree attempted murder. The latter refers to the 17 people that he injured.

A judge entered a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole on behalf of PS, but the Broward County prosecutors – where the grand jury first indicted him – are seeking the death penalty. As of March, 2019, there are 30 states that allow the death penalty, Florida being one of them since 1976.

After PS was arrested, he was interviewed by a detective and confessed on tape to being the shooter. According to CNN, he offered justifications for his actions that point strongly to him being mentally unstable and broken, his attorney said. During that interview with the detective, PS admitted to having been the school shooter but also mentioned that he had a demon in his head that told him to purchase the AR-15 and take the Uber to the school that day.

PS has struggled with behavioral issues since elementary school. When PS was 14, his adopted mother, Lynda Cruz, called the Broward County Police to tell them of her son’s anger management issues, when he reportedly threw her against a wall for taking away his video game. In 2016, the Florida Department of Children performed a study on PS after he reportedly was cutting himself and attempting suicide by ingesting gasoline. The overall safety assessment found that PS had depression, ADHD and autism, but that his “final risk level [was] low.” He left Marjory Stone Douglas High School in Feb. of 2017 to an alternative program where students who struggled in the traditional high school environment could get a diploma. Three days after his enrollment, he purchased the AR-15 that was used during the shooting.

PS’s impending trial is very complicated. The trial alone could possibly could not begin for another two years. PS is one of the very few large-scale mass shooters (more than ten victims) caught alive and arrested in the last decade. Because there have been so few like him, there is not a specific protocol concerning what PS’s fate will be.

There are potential hardships is if there were to be a death penalty trial. PS will have to face his victims in court, and the survivors will have to give their exact account of what happened during the Parkland Shooting. PS’s defense has made it clear that it is in everyone’s best interest to avoid the death penalty trial. Family and friends of the victims have voiced their concerns with the death penalty as well, claiming that PS deserves to rot in prison rather than be killed painlessly.

PS’s defendants have said that they will use the mental challenges that PS has faced from a young age in their defense, which could prolong the process. Also, finding jurors that are unbiased enough to be reliable voters will be difficult because there has been so much news regarding the shooting. If the jurors voted unanimously to give PS the death penalty, the actual execution could take years. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, there are 343 people on death row as of Apr. 10, 2019. However, since the reinstatement of the Florida death penalty in 1976, there have only been 97 people executed. PS could easily spend at least 20 years on death row before being executed.

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